Three beautiful things

What a wonderful idea. Three beautiful things… Each day post three things that bless your life with beauty. =O)

1. The gentle smile of a new friend that marks the very moment you know
you’ve bonded.

2. Jules dog laying on the couch with a happy, full-of-breakfast belly relaxing
from after morning walk.

3. When you are once again reminded that not only is your boss great to
work with, but also that he’s human just like you.

Early Saturday mornings

Luna dog and Max cat love mornings, but my Saturday morning barista
gig is a little early for even the two of them. Jules, my golden, is
still on her bed, not yet committing to anything but breakfast. She’s
always awake for breakfast. Luna and Max keep my company as I get ready.

The Golden Years

(Pat and Gerry)

Tonight I went to the retirement party for my friend Pat Banko. After 35 years as a violinist with the North Carolina Symphony, she is retiring. Her friends from the symphony threw her a party at her neighbor and colleague’s home. Gerry Nelson (also in the symphony) and Charlie, as it turns out, also hosted Pat’s 50th birthday party at the very same home. They’ve been neighbors for decades. Many of the same folks there tonight were there 17 years ago helping Pat celebrate that momentous occasion as well.

(Pat and her friend Sherrill Laffey)

I was Pat’s neighbor for about five years almost a decade ago. Despite me moving away from our alcove of coziness, she and I have remained friends and our friendship continues to deepen. But that’s how Pat is. She’s still friends with the folks she left behind in California nearly four decades ago. It is no surprise to meet tonight friends she made while I was still in junior high.

Pat and I both married our college sweethearts and were divorced by 30. I’ve held that commonality close to heart, because Pat is a woman I admire and from whom and with whom I choose to learn. Her friendship has helped me develop needed optimistic yet realistic expectations for myself. But she has never left me alone with my expectations. No matter what, no matter when, she’s there to help me put my expectations into practice and at times understand how they have failed me.

(Peggy and Kathy Lee)

I miss the nights with Pat and Kathy in our back yards with all our varmints. I cherish her as a friend, and we count on each other as forever friends. Clearly, I’m not the only one. I reunited with another of Pat’s friends, Alyssa. Alyssa is a recently retired school teacher who became friends with Pat back in the 1970s. The fun I know they had. Pat has always been able to have as much fun, if not more fun, than anyone I know.

Don’t every confuse her honesty and genuineness with lack of compassion, because her concern for the next person isn’t merely skin deep. She doesn’t wear her generosity as a badge, but keeps it close to heart where it always means the most.

How honored I am to be among the people who shared this celebration with her. How honored I am to have Pat as my forever friend.

Chris Botti

Golly, I’ve been meaning to make this post since the concert swept me off my feet, but I’m finally getting around to it. Jay and I saw Chris Botti and his incredible bandmates at a sold out show at Durham’s Carolina Theatre on April 29th. We’d only recently learned of Chris Botti while watching the WUNC station fundraiser and saw part of his Boston concert. We ordered tickets right that moment. The concert in Durham was so much more than we could have expected. Just a few songs into the show, I found myself feeling like I was in a small club enjoying the improv talents of wonderful musicians within an arm’s reach. I could almost imagine the coppers busting thru the doors to raid the speakeasy feel of the joint. Even Chris Botti, who has clearly played Carolina Theatre before, felt that way, stating that every time he plays the theatre, he feels like he’s in a much smaller club. Everyone in the band is phenomenal, and I left feeling like I may never be audience to such musical talent in one place ever again. There were several guest performers including violinist Lucia Micarelli. She came on stage barefoot with a long willowy evening gown of a dress. Her hair flowing and her body helping make the sound, she appeared to be totally baring herself in the performance.